[2007025] Mark Butler – It’s not big. It’s not clever.

Mark Butler – It’s not big. It’s not clever. (FringeTIX)

Mark Butler @ Bakehouse Theatre

9:00pm, Tues 13 Mar 2007

In the aftermath of the Australian Tourism “Where the bloody hell are you?” ad campaign in the UK, Mark Butler set about researching the differences between Australian and British (and US) attitudes towards swearing, the offensiveness of words, and the etymology of a handful of “popular” words.

Now, this sounds like it should be interesting… but that’s about all it is. For me, the real highlights in this performance were the statistics and comparative analyses – “fuck” is number seven on the list of offensive words in Australia? Sure, we can all guess what the Number One is, but seventh is a real surprise. The original usage of “slut” (strong-willed) and derivation of “berk” (from the cockney rhyming slang “Berkely Hunt”) are gems, too.

But is it funny? Not so much. Sure, there are some giggles to be had… some of Butler’s side-stories are a good laugh, and the call-centre training tape was ace. But “fuckin’ funny”, as proclaimed by his ad? No. Butler’s style is quietly earnest, but his handling of audience heckles is quite nasty – even given the nature of the show, his comebacks verge on the sleazy.

It’s not big. It’s not particularly clever, just well-researched. But it’s not that funny. It just isn’t. Which is a shame – I really wanted to love this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *